The Department Of Truth is a new thriller courtesy of James Tynion IV, Martin Simmonds, and Aditya Bidikar. Image Comics publishes the first issue on September 30, and with MFR already recommending this, it might be good to subscribe to this series. The series delves into the infectiously uncomfortable world of conspiracy theories. Disturbing influences aside, this may be one of the best comics to come out this year with its suspenseful storytelling that leaves readers on the edge of their seats.
The Department Of Truth #1 Story
The Department Of Truth #1 releases alongside Tynion IV’s other series, Something Is Killing The Children. Both books deal with the feeling of helplessness against the impossible. But the threats of the Dept. are not overwhelming just for the effects they have on people; it’s how these threats defy common sense. Unlike monsters that appear only to children, conspiracy theories are like a virus that people can’t shake. Even the reader won’t be able to shake the conspiracy theory’s influence after reading this issue. But specific details would be spoilers.
Reflecting current times of unease and misinformation, this series takes a supernatural spy thriller angle to the social commentary. Because if The Slender Man can invade people’s minds as much as Flat Earth theories, wouldn’t that put them in the same category? The newest recruit of the titular agency, Cole Turner, seems to think so. With the company he’ll be keeping, his and the reader’s world will turn upside down. With real-life twists and turns taking place during the publishing of The Department Of Truth #1, the suspense both on and off the plot will be something to remember. So much that readers won’t get enough of just one read and will re-read it endlessly.
In just the prologue section, The Department Of Truth #1 sets itself up by overwhelming the reader. Simmonds arranges the panels in a grid to try to keep everything in control while the muted/blurry visuals display the difficulty in comprehension. It’s the perfect setup to a spy thriller with how it removes itself from the main story, which features a watercolor design. That design actually has a solid reason for it. In Cole’s perspective, things are strange but still make sense, even the creepier parts like identical smiles that are pasted to people’s faces. This brings unease to a situation already keeping readers on their toes. It’s relatively comparable to the numerous illustrators of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman franchise, like Colleen Doran.
Bidikar’s lettering only adds to this suspense. Most people speak in word balloons that don’t completely connect to the outline. This gives the feeling that everybody is speaking out of context or struggling to give the best answer to a question. Two different kinds of captions even make up two perspectives. The standard captions without voice-over borders are like paperwork descriptions for reports. The other voice-over captions have borders that are like Cole writing his experiences down in notes. The uneven borders, however, feel like they’ve been ripped out and jumbled. For all the professionalism, these descriptions might not be as reliable. It’s almost like the reader is trying to make as much sense of everything as much as Cole, bringing a sense of empathy throughout the issue. Enough to re-read the issue for Cole’s sake.
You’ve Been Approved By The Department of Truth #1
The Department of Truth #1 is a spy thriller like no other. Conspiracies have always been decent plots in comics like The Black Monday Murders, but now the more fantastical side takes hold. It looks like whatever readers believe about intrigue plots is about to be challenged. This series will bring readers in to re-review what’s on this issue just to try and make sense of everything. But no matter how much they try to familiarize themselves, readers might never adjust to it all. The illustrations make everything feel like a dream; even the characters are trying to make sense of everything. Readers are just along for the journey. One they might not mind doing again and again to make sense of everything.
Are you going to pick up The Department Of Truth #1? Leave your thoughts in the comments?